A Graphical Look at What’s Happened to America’s Jobs

Times - Mixed RecoveryWhen the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its May employment report Friday, it marked a recovery milestone. Six years and five months after the recession began, the U.S. has finally recovered 8.7 million jobs lost through the recession’s official end in February 2010.

The 138.463 million jobs in May exceeds January 2008’s 138.365 million by 100,000.

While certainly good news, the recovery and job creation has been uneven. In a remarkable series of interactive charts, The New York Times graphically illustrates the mixed nature of the recovery. Industry by industry, using BLS data The Times shows how both the number of jobs has changed, as well as the average salaries.

Referring to is as a “mixed recovery,” the Times says, “Industries that paid in the middle of the wage spectrum generally lost jobs. And while the economy overall is back to its pre-recession level, it hasn’t added the roughly 10 million jobs needed to keep up with growth in the working-age population.”

Conveniently, industries and jobs in related areas are shown together, even if the government’s indexing system doesn’t necessarily group them together. So for instance, jobs in nail salons are shown alongside pet grooming, boarding, and training, and other types of jobs under a “Grooming Boom” chart heading.

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NY Times jobs chartSome of the charts show drill down data; others are more top level. One chart includes includes employment placement agency workers and executive search employees (308,900).Another shows PEO employees (397,100) under the heading “Employer human resource services.”

Because the chart titles don’t necessarily conform to the BLS category names, including the appropriate NAICS code for each of the 255 charts would have been helpful. Nevertheless, The Times’ project is an addicting, and graphically easy way to see at a glance what’s happened to so many jobs and industries since before and through the recession years.

John Zappe is the editor of TLNT.com and a contributing editor of ERE.net. John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


4 Comments on “A Graphical Look at What’s Happened to America’s Jobs

  1. Fantastic! The Times did a great job with this. Very impressive. I’m sure we’ll be using these charts in presentations for months to come. They are also a great example of how powerful data visualization can be when working with complex or multifactorial information. And there are a bunch of really great, intuitive tools available that I find useful and empowering. Dygraphs (http://dygraphs.com) and ZingChart (http://www.zingchart.com) are both great options (they are really flexible and are supported on just about every device and browser).

    Doug Friedman

  2. There is one that I don’t understand at all —– real estate construction. Everything I’ve heard is that construction is booming and it is in my state as well. The problem is that they can’t find enough/hire fast enough all the plumbers, welders, electricians, etc. that are needed to do the actual building. Maybe Gallup’s numbers on this industry are tapping something else??? Otherwise I disagree — and I keep up with all the economic stuff.

  3. @Jacque Construction nationally is improving. Whether it is booming depends on what you compare it to. In April 2004 there 500k people employed in the ” New single-family general contractors” category (NAICS code 236115). In April 2014, there were 320k. In April 2012 there were 279k. This doesn’t mean there weren’t vacancies. That’s a different set of numbers. Nor does it say anything about whether workers wee easy or hard to find. The Times data is all about the number of people currently working in the various categories and the data comes from here http://www.bls.gov/data/#employment

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